How long does professional teeth whitening last?

How long does professional teeth whitening last?

There are many ways to rejuvenate your smile, but the quickest, least-invasive, and most affordable option is a professional teeth whitening procedure at your dentist’s office. Professional teeth whitening in San Diego can eliminate years of stains and significantly brighten your smile in just one appointment, but the results will not last forever. How long the whitening lasts depends on several factors, some of which are within your control. and there are some things you can do. Here’s everything you need to know about professional teeth whitening and how to get the most out of it. 

What causes tooth discoloration?

There are two types of tooth discoloration: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic discoloration forms within your teeth and is caused by age, tooth decay, genetics, certain diseases, and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Extrinsic discoloration is much more common, and more easily eliminated with teeth whitening treatments. Examples of extrinsic discoloration include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Poor oral hygiene and plaque buildup
  • Coffee, tea, soda and red wine
  • Food with dyes
  • Tomato-based sauces
  • Dark-pigmented foods, such as beets and dark berries

Some of these stains can be prevented with regular brushing and flossing, but even minor stains can build up over time and require professional whitening to remove.

What is professional teeth whitening?

You have probably seen several teeth whitening products on the market, from specialty toothpastes to at-home whitening strips and gels, but those products are not as effective as the professional teeth whitening products available at dental offices. Your dentist will likely use a concentration of bleaching agents such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, and often heat or light to accelerate the process. The whitener is left to sit for an hour or so on the surface of the teeth so it can absorb into the enamel layer. Once absorbed, the whitening compound initiates a chemical reaction that dissolves the molecules responsible for tooth stains. After the whitener is rinsed away, stains will continue to dissolve for about 24 hours.

How long do the results of professional teeth whitening last?

There is no one-size-fits-all timeframe for how long professional teeth whitening will last—some people need a touch-up treatment after six months, while others enjoy bright, white smiles for up to three years. The different methods of professional teeth whitening and variances in bleaching compound concentrates can affect the results, but overall the two main factors that determine how long the results will last are diet and oral hygiene. Avoiding smoking and stain-causing food and beverages will extend the lifespan of your whitening results, as will maintaining your daily oral hygiene routine of brushing and flossing and twice-yearly dental checkups. Other tips to extend the whitening effects of your professional treatment:

  • Drink staining beverages out of a straw, which limits contact on the teeth
  • Try to brush your teeth or at least rinse with water after each meal
  • Use whitening toothpaste to eliminate new minor stains
  • Consume foods that improve the health and brightness of teeth including celery, carrots, dairy, nuts, and seeds

An easy way to determine which foods and beverages could potentially stain your teeth is the “T-shirt test”: if something can stain a white T-shirt, it can stain your teeth.

Professional teeth whitening in San Diego

Nothing provides the instant boost of confidence like a bright white smile. With professional teeth whitening at University Dental in San Diego, you can have a dazzling new smile in just one appointment. For more information about professional teeth whitening or other smile restoration options, fill out our contact form or call us at (619) 582-4224 today.